Boldly moving forward

I normally dither about at this time of year, not wanting summer to end and ignoring the need to get the cool season seeds started now before it is too late!  Well not this season.   The sooner summer is behind us the better – it was rubbish!  Having said that, I’m not sure I’m happy with where this new season is going, but time will tell.  But we are only 5 days in, and it has me reaching for some thick socks!  The temperatures have gone from too hot, the kind of hot that makes sleeping difficult, even with the windows open to having me want to put on thick socks just two days later!

socked feet
I wasn’t expecting to required the warmth of socks so soon into autumn

The rain in between was great.  We got 11.7mm in the garden and Hubby the Un-Gardener even bought a very long ladder to clean the gutters so we were ready for it, so our tanks could be filled with fresh clean water.   The drought hasn’t broken but we are one step closer to not worrying about water again.    Autumn, you are on warning – you are supposed to be mild and gentle and ease us into the cold weather.  Enough of the crazy flip flopping – it doesn’t become you.

I won’t need to sow any kale, this one will be with us until the spring.

But enough about the weather, what I need right now is some progress.  A sense of moving forward, of growing for me and the garden.  And so, as the new season stretches out in front of me, I need to make the most of it.  And the best way to do that right now is to sow seeds.  While the options open to me aren’t as vast as it was 6 months ago as I was staring into the face of spring, all hopeful and expectant, there are still options for a winter garden and with our frostless coastal spot there are boundaries to push.

Birds eye Chili
There is plenty of scope for overwintering a range of plants as I managed to keep this birds eye chili alive all through last winter with no care and attention at all.

While I can’t see a new crop of sweetcorn or beans going in, there are still interesting things to plant out.  I may see how well a tomato and a cucumber will do in the greenhouse over winter.  It won’t be heated, but it will certainly be frost free.

Swede and turnip seeds
hmmm… this or that? or both?

As for out in the garden – I want to grow all the things – well maybe not all the things.  I have been growing turnips for a few seasons now and to be honest I don’t enjoy them as much as I do swedes, but turnips are ready faster than swedes, but swedes make a more comforting mash whereas turnips can be a bit watery.   We need to question these things honestly, so we don’t waste time and effort growing something that won’t be eaten or worse – forced upon a poor hapless family who just want something nice to eat for dinner.   Maybe I’ll plant just a few – while we’re waiting for the swedes.

Now I have to ask myself some really hard questions – like to I need Tatsoi as well as Bok choi… do we eat enough stir frys to warrant it? But Tatsoi is so pretty….

The other thing to think about is how we will eat things.  The problem is seeds are so tiny, so it is so easy to just plant a few extra… and then there is more space in a winter garden than in a summer one…  so, you plant them all and end up with a mountain of Bok choi requiring the family to eat stir fry every night for weeks before the plants go too far.  I think for the family after stir fry three in a row it has gone too far!  Meanwhile the swedes are ready and demanding attention.    It is almost like you have to meal plan in advance and then work backwards to think ‘ok on the 16th of June we can have a stir fry and we will need Bok choi – not a big one, and probably some carrots and there should be some onions left and some broccoli and all going well some red peppers in the freezer.   So then to get a small sized Bok Choi I need to sow it around mid April.  The broccoli will need to be started around about the end of March, but considering things grow slower maybe now would be fine and for the carrots…  oh no – I’ve missed the window for the carrots for our meal in June.  It’ll have to be baby carrots and I need to work on my succession sowing of carrots.

I really must do better with my carrots – this is a scrappy looking row and it is almost done. In my defense I have sown new rows several times but with the drought and the heat of summer they didn’t do well.

Gosh that is all giving me a bit of a headache.   Not only do I need to take into consideration how we eat everything, but also the crop rotation, cover crops, things I want to grow beyond the garden – I need to get onto growing a windbreak – I probably should have started that yesterday.  Actually, I should have started on day one as the first thing I did, but we’re at this point now so let’s not go there!  I thought I had the crop rotation sorted but there are lessons that have been learnt from this season and changes are needed.

Greenhouse space
There is certainly plenty of space in the greenhouse for a new season load of seedlings… I best get on and do it!

There is so much to think about, but I think the first thing to be done is to sow some seeds…  any seeds and get them started.  I can always give away the ones I don’t need to friends who can create their own midwinter stir fry drama in their household!

Come again soon – I’m sowing seeds!

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

5 thoughts on “Boldly moving forward

    1. I do tend to grow a lot of food that not a lot of thought has been put into how it will be used in the kitchen, so I end up with a freshly harvested bok choi on the bench while I look for ways to use it! (and ways that are different from the previous few days!) It would be nice for once to have some kind of plan! : o)

        1. I think it can be, but I just made a huge batch of kimchi with a different cabbage I grew. Although I can see how it would be great for that, maybe I’ll try it when I make some more… : o)

          1. When I plan, I try and think of what we’ll eat in a week. This helps me not plant so many summer squash or 20x the tomatoes we need… I’m still not so good at that as I have 24 tomatoes in the ground and probably only need 4.

Leave a Reply